So you thought your bathroom was just a place to get clean, use the toilet, brush your teeth, and apply your makeup? You did? You might well be the only person to do so. It turns out that not only do different people use the bathroom in many different ways, they use them for more than just getting washed and ready for the day, or preparing for bed! From Angry Birds to corporate deals, it turns out that bathrooms aren’t just used for the business you thought they were. We took a closer look at bathroom behaviour.
What Are We Really Doing in the Bathroom?
Do Women actually take longer than Men to get ready?
So let’s start with the basics, and in particular, that myth that women take ages to get ready and always hog the bathroom. Well it turns out, according to some research that women do spend an average of 1 year 7 months and 15 days longer in the bathroom than men, but overall men spend more time on their personal grooming and – apparently – spend more money – a whole pound a week more in fact - on grooming products such as moisturisers.
And so what are we actually doing in the bathroom all that time. Well of course, there’s the obvious bathroom activities. Women seem to spend longer in the shower than men – but only a couple of minutes: 14 as opposed to 12 for men.
Men spend more time actually on the toilet than women though, but is that all they are doing in there (it’s what every woman wants to know!)? Well, turns out that most of us (and actually, this is men as well as women) are on the phone or using a tablet whiling away bathroom time. Whether fuelled by anxiety that we’re falling behind on work related emails, or desperate to complete the next level of the latest game, it turns out that an astonishing 75% of us use our smartphones in the bathroom. Lots of us text and plenty of people even admit to taking calls whilst in the bathroom – 25% of men have admitted to taking conference calls when nature calls.
In fact, we’re so addicted to our phones, many men now admit to sitting down rather than using a urinal, so that they can carry on using their phones while they are in the bathroom. Plenty of people, especially in the 18-24 yr old age group catch up with their social media whilst in the bathroom, and smart phones have made it possible for us to watch TV and browse the internet from the comfort of our own bathrooms.
Perhaps you’re sharing secrets on a secret sharing app while you’re in the bathroom? Certainly, people have shared secrets about what they like to do in the bathroom, from singing and dancing, reading and of course checking behind the shower curtain for murderers. Singing is something that people have been doing in the privacy of their bathrooms for as long as we can remember: the acoustics, the opportunity to use the shower head as a microphone, the running water to mask the sound of any wrong notes, the fact that no one can see – the bathroom is the perfect place of many people to unleash their hidden X Factor persona and let rip.
Is your Bathroom Behaviour Eco-friendly?
What about our eco-principles in the bathroom? Well, a US study showed that 82% of people turned off the tap whilst brushing their teeth which is good news for water conservation, but in the UK, showers and toilets account for most of our domestic water use. Showers account for 25% of all the water used in our homes every day, and although in theory showers are more environmentally friendly, using less water than baths, this isn’t the case for power showers.
However, although showers are quicker and more efficient, there are still plenty of people who retreat to the bathroom for a relaxing wallow in the bath – luxurious bath oils, scented candles, the works. 1 in 10 women in fact and 1 in 20 men enjoy a rejuvenating soak. But could this bathroom behaviour go too far? Clearly a hot topic for debate, falling asleep in the bath is something that quite a lot of us do, certainly women, and the risk of drowning doesn’t seem to worry those that do regularly sleep in the bath, although those of us that don’t sleep in the bath think it’s quite a dangerous occupation.
What about Workplace Bathrooms?
You think that’s everything? Well a recent international survey showed that plenty of other things go on in bathrooms all over the world. The workplace bathroom provides a haven for all sorts of activity. In this day and age where smoking is about one of the most socially unacceptable things you can do, it seems that some people still sneak off for a fag in the bathroom at work. More significantly perhaps, people use the bathroom as a place of sanctuary, with people owning up to taking power naps in the bathroom, to take some time out either to think, or to calm down from workplace frustrations, and even to cry. It is now also common for people to sneak a 'toilet-break' in so that they can access something or someone on their phone in strict office places.
So What don’t we do in the Bathroom?
So that’s what we do in bathrooms. Let’s have a look at what we DON’T do in bathrooms. It seems that a significant number of people don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet. It also seems that despite plenty of us using our phones in the bathroom, we’re not always that careful with them, with many people reporting their smartphone water damaged, it seems that sometimes this is down to being dropped in the toilet! It also seems that not all of us brush our teeth the prescribed twice a day, with only 56% of women brushing twice a day and only 49% of men.
Of course all this goes to show that as in life in general, our bathroom behaviour is never ordinary. Perhaps the pressures of modern life are such that the use of the bathroom as a sanctuary, a place to escape to – whether it’s playing on our smartphones, reading or pretending to be Marilyn Monroe, or simply spending hours in the bath – is a sign of this. Whatever your bathroom behaviour though, you’re probably not alone!
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